5 Purple Birds In South Dakota (With Pictures!)

In this article I’ll be covering 5 purple colored birds that can be found in South Dakota so continue reading for a more detailed look at each of these birds below.

  • Purple Martin
  • Common Grackle
  • Rock Pigeon
  • European Starling
  • Brown Headed Cowbird

5 Purple Birds In South Dakota

1. Purple Martin (Progne Subis)

Purple Martin

  • Size: 19 – 20cm
  • Weight: 45 – 60 grams
  • Wingspan: 39 – 41cm

You’ll find purple martins within the eastern regions of South Dakota when they breed and in the remainder of the state when migrating. 

Purple Martins are recognised by their almost entirely purple plumage with the wings and lower half of their body purple, and the remainder a darker blue color. Females on the hand are mostly white and gray with hints of blue on their plumage.

As for where these birds live, it tends to be around open locations that are at least 40 ft. from trees or buildings so, you’ll often see them perching on utility wires and houses throughout the local Texan neighborhood. 

Purple Martins tend to eat mostly flying insects like house flies, crane flies, beetles, moths, butterflies and even dragonflies. Dragonflies in particular are a very important part of their diet.

These avians have been known to live for 13 years but, the average for most probably wouldn’t surpass 6 – 7 years.

2. Common Grackle (Quiscalus Quiscula)

Common grackle

  • Size: 28 – 34cm
  • Weight: 74 – 142 grams
  • Wingspan: 36 – 46cm

Common grackles can be spotted in the western part of South Dakota when breeding and in the remainder of the state on a year round basis. 

The common grackle is recognised by their purple head, brown mixed with hints of purple on their wings and back, blue wing tail and chest. Females are mostly a duller darker brown color with small inklings of purple on their body.

These birds tend to spend the majority of their time within wet, open woodlands, marshes as well as in suburbs, parks, and agricultural fields. 

As for the type of food a common grackle eats, it includes eating many forms of crops like corn as well as nearly anything else that catches their eyes such as food foraged from garbage.

The average lifespan for these birds is around 17 years whilst some are able to live till the age of 22.

3. Rock Pigeon (Columba Livia)

Rock pigeon

  • Size: 30 – 36cm
  • Weight: 265 – 380 grams
  • Wingspan: 50 – 67cm

You’ll find rock pigeons scattered all across South Dakota on a year round basis. 

Rock pigeons are mostly gray with elements of black on their wings and green plus purple hue across their neck. Females are generally smaller in size and also have a flatter head unlike the males who tend to have a more round head shape.

These pigeons spend the majority of their time around urban parks and neighborhoods, around farms, under highway, railroad bridges as well as near tall rocky cliffs.

In regards to the food rock pigeons eat, they include a variety of seeds, bread crumbs, seed grasses, worms among other insects, berries and acorns.

Rock pigeons tend to live for 6 years in the wild when averaged out.

4. European Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris)

European starling

  • Size: 20 – 23cm
  • Weight: 60 – 96 grams
  • Wingspan: 31 – 40cm

European starlings were first introduced to north America in the early 1890’s. Now they can be found throughout South Dakota. 

These starlings are recognised by their multi colored plumage which is made up of purple, green, blue and gray. The head and neck are purple with hints of green, their wings green and gray, the belly and breast blue and green with the beak a striking yellow color. Females on the other hand are mostly a light brownish/gray color.

European starlings can often be found around people, using mowed lawns, city streets, and agricultural areas like city parks as their place of rest. 

As for what they eat, it includes worms, snails, insects, fruit and seed mixes. They do also forage for food around soil and rocks.

European starlings are known to live for around 2 – 3 years on average in wild, whilst the number is much higher in captivity achieving a max of 20 years within such an environment.

5. Brown Headed Cowbird (Molothrus Ater)

Brown headed cowbird

  • Size: 16 – 20cm
  • Weight: 38 – 45 grams
  • Wingspan: 32 – 38cm

Brown headed cowbirds can be found in all of South Dakota in their spring and summer breeding season.

These birds can be recognised by their light brown head, their dark blue/purple wing and body feathers. Females are mostly brown in color.

As for where brown headed cowbirds tend to spend the majority of their time, it would include open grasslands, as well as agricultural, urban, and suburban habitats where grain or cattle-disturbed soil are readily available. 

Brown headed cowbirds mostly consume mostly insects like grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, flies etc as well a number different seeds.

These cowbird are known to live for around 17 years in the wild on the high end.

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